10/04/2014 06:53 EDT | Updated 12/04/2014 05:59 EST

BCIT celebrates 50-year anniversary starting with 'Fab 50' event at first campus

BURNABY, B.C. - It's been 50 years since then-premier W.A.C. Bennett officially opened the doors of the B.C. Institute of Technology in Burnaby, and that milestone is being celebrated at the school that now has five campuses.

On Saturday, the polytechnic institute held a "Fab 50" event featuring all things 1964 — from vintage cars to an X-ray machine and broadcasting equipment used at the school half a century ago.

A Beattles tribute band entertained former graduates and visitors at the Burnaby campus.

Gary Hanney, who attended BCIT's first broadcast class and worked mostly as a camera operator before retiring in 2008, said he remembers wearing a shirt, tie and sport jacket to school.

Hanney said the two-year broadcasting program was considered cool in those days but most of the students were men and jobs were plentiful in a blossoming industry.

"When we started here there was one building and now it's a huge campus," he said.

BCIT spokesman Dave Pinton said anniversary events will also be held throughout the school year at the other four campuses of BCIT — in North Vancouver, Richmond, Vancouver and Delta.

The school began with 647 students and this year has nearly 48,000 people enrolled in programs including engineering, business, shipbuilding and health, said Pinton, who wore a 1960's skinny tie and horn-rimmed glasses to the birthday bash.

Since 1964, about 155,000 students have graduated from BCIT, which provides the majority of apprenticeship training in the province.